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Best of John Grochowski

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Winning and losing and dealer hits

6 September 2015

QUESTION: When you rate slot games, does winning or losing factor into what you write?

ANSWER: I’m human, so of course it does. I know full well that all machines pay big sometimes and hardly at all on others, but if I encounter one that yields its bonuses early and often, leaving a warm glow in my wallet, I’m more likely to remember it fondly when it comes slot-writing time.

However, my first encounter with most of the games I write about is at manufacturers’ booths at the annual Global Gaming Expo. The games are set up so operators can show off their best features to casino customers and to those of us who write about gaming. So often, when I write about a bonus event that I find particularly entertaining, my experience is on a demo version with no money at risk.

But on those I first play in casinos, winning certainly can have an effect. I have a lingering affection for the Monopoly series based on the first time I played the initial games at the Rio in Las Vegas. I quickly went to the Monopoly board bonus on a quarter three-reel version, and landed on Boardwalk for a nice payoff. On a nickel video version across the aisle, I got to the bonus again within five minutes, and landed on Boardwalk again.

Did that leave me with residual good feeling for Monopoly? Sure.

QUESTION: After one of those hands where the dealer strings out a whole bunch of low cards and beats the whole table. That got me to thinking, how many cards is it possible for the dealer to have in one hand and still make a standing, non-bust hand?

ANSWER: That depends on whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17, and how many decks are in play.

The most common games today are six decks, with the dealer hitting soft 17. That means there are 24 aces available, so it’s possible, though not likely, for the dealer to string out as many as 13 cards.

To do it, the first seven cards would have to be aces, taking the dealer to soft 17. The next card can’t be an ace, 2, 3 or 4, because that would give the dealer a standing hand of 18, 19, 20 or 21, and it can’t be a 10 value, because that would turn soft 17 into hard 17, also a standing hand.

To maximize the number of cards, the eight card would have to be a 5, taking the total to 12. Four more aces, for a total of 12 cards, would give the dealer hard 16. The 13th card could be an ace, 2, 3, 4 or 5, for final dealer hands ranging from 17 to 21.

If the dealer stands on all 17s, you can’t start with seven aces, because that’s a standing total of soft 17. Instead, the maximum-card standing hand would start with six aces, followed by a 6 to get to 12, four more aces to get to 16, then an ace, 2, 3, 4 or 5 for the final standing total of 17-21. That’s 12 cards, one fewer than the max on a hit-soft-17 game.

You didn’t ask, but players aren’t restricted by the same must-stand rules as dealers, so it’s possible to string out 21 aces for a 21. You’ll never see anyone dealt that many aces in a row, and plays like hitting 20 to try to draw the 21st ace would fall outside the realm of sanity, but it’s theoretically possible.
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski